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VOL. 8 NO. 1
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Beat the cold

Avoid hypothermia’s most common causes

Beat the cold; avoid hypothermia

Hypothermia occurs when the body’s core temperature falls to 95 degrees or cooler. It can occur at any cool temperature, even above 40 degrees Fahrenheit if a person becomes chilled from being wet.

You can take steps to prevent hypothermia by staying warm and dry. Avoid prolonged exposure to cold temperatures. Make sure to dress in layers, including a hat, scarf and gloves. If you become wet, change into dry clothes as soon as possible.

Some common symptoms include

  • Shivering
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Numbness in limbs, loss of dexterity and clumsiness
  • Pain
  • Slurred speech
  • Reduced or loss of consciousness

The first step in treating hypothermia is seeking immediate medical attention. However if you must wait for help to arrive, take the following actions:

  • Get into a warm place, preferably indoors, to prevent further heat loss.
  • Remove wet clothing.
  • Focus on warming the center of the body first.
  • Provide warm beverages, such as coffee or tea.
  • Remain wrapped in dry clothing or blankets until medical personnel arrive.

In severe cases, unconsciousness occurs. If you can detect no breathing or pulse in a victim, administer CPR until help arrives.

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